While pollution and high concentrations of fine dust now seem to have a significant role in the spread and severity of Covid-19, the importance of trees in the city in tackling the pandemic is now emerging, "absorbing" the particulates and improving the quality of the air.
To take stock of how urban forests can contribute to the health of cities is an article published on Forest @ - Journal of forestry and forest ecology ("Urban forests at the time of COVID-19 protect us from fine dust") available here https : //foresta.sisef.org/contents/? id = & lang = en & efor3494-017 fbclid = IwAR3MoILlPX9j9G8b1RE-UHJix9Fmb2ACr-bQD2hQ_BUvL6YZLB4BY1nW45M.
Trees, woods and urban vegetation are able to reduce pollutants, with different performances according to the species, as recent studies show. The famous PM-10 settles for example on the leaves and then disperses in the rain, while the smaller fractions of particulates can be "stored" and then degraded.
«As has been shown, traces of COVID-19 have been found on atmospheric particulates, but also in sewage. Why not use the leaves of the trees on which the fine dust settles as natural filters and therefore sentinels of possible foci of infection? ", Reads the article.
However, not all trees "work" in the same way: conifers, with their fine needles and greater density of leaves, show a greater capacity for collecting fine dust than broadleaf trees. Among the latter, some researches have compiled a ranking according to which the most effective would be gleditia, maples, plane trees and limes, birches.
Underlining also the role of plants in terms of well-being for citizens, the article concludes: "The Italian urban green heritage can and must be expanded not only to face the current health emergency, but also for an improvement of the widest quality of urban life. Building and maintaining urban forests costs relatively little and could activate an effective green jobs chain that can also reabsorb part of the unemployed in the work context caused by the health emergency we are experiencing ".
Cover image credits: Tree photo created by freepik - it.freepik.com